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While there are several factors that contribute to the diet quality of children in childcare, one contributing factor in Family Childcare Homes (FCCHs) is the provider’s ethnicity. However, research examining the food items provided in this setting is limited; in particular, with regards to differences between FCCHs of Latino and non-Latino providers. The aim of this study was to identify and describe the food items that contribute to food group intake in preschool-aged children attending FCCHs, and to examine differences by provider ethnicity. This secondary data analysis used baseline data from Healthy Start/Comienzos Sanos: a cluster-randomized trial. Children’s dietary intake was collected using the Dietary Observation in Child Care method and entered into Nutrition Data System for Research software. Food groups were based on the Nutrition Coordinating Center classification. Contribution of food items to their respective food group was calculated as a proportion, using ratio of means and presented as a percentage. Ethnic differences were tested with ANCOVA (p < 0.05) with Bonferroni adjustments for multiple comparisons. All providers (n= 120) were female and 67.5% were Latino. Most fruit consumed by children was in the form of juice (85%), three-fourths of the grains consumed were refined (75%), and half of the sweets consumed were syrup/honey/jelly (50%). Most of the vegetables consumed were non-starchy (61%), nearly three-fourths of dairy consumed was low-fat (71%), and vegetable oils contributed the most to the fats group (89%). Food items differed by provider’s ethnicity, with children cared for by non-Latino providers consuming a higher proportion of fruit juice, animal fats and a lower proportion of legumes (p < 0.001 for all). Children with Latino providers consumed a lower proportion of non-starchy vegetables, low-fat dairy, and nuts/seeds (p < 0.001 for all). FCCH providers could offer more whole fruits and grains and a greater variety of vegetables. Differences by ethnicity suggest providers could benefit from culturally tailored recommendations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Andrea Ramirez, Maya Vadiveloo, Noreem Z. Mena and Alison Tovar are from the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

Mary L. Greaney is from the Department of Health Studies.